|Max Headroom||N/A||Bridge Clearance||N/A|
|Std. Power||Not Available|
|Tested Power||Currently no test numbers|
A beautiful boat sliding across a glassy sea – what could be better? Although this Vicem 54 lobster-style yacht has a classic profile, below the waterline she’s all 21st-century, with twin Volvo-Penta IPS 900 drives doing the work.
This view from the cockpit shows a shipyard, not the normal venue for an elegant yacht like the Vicem 54 IPS. The cockpit has a wide bench seat across the transom, a couple of built-in aft-facing seats P&S, a teak sole and thick coaming padding. The cockpit is almost fully shaded by the cabin-top overhang. In nice weather you’ll want to eat out here.
Vicem yachts are built in Turkey, using multiple layers of Khaya mahogany held together by epoxy resin. The grain of each layer of planking is set at an angle to the one before, to maximize the structural properties of the wood. They call this “cold-molded” construction, and it’s been around for decades.
World War II PT boats were cold-molded – many people think they were plywood, but in fact the builders used multiple layers of planking held together with screws. PTs didn’t have the sinuous shapes Vicem achieves, thanks to today’s materials and refinement of the technique. But then, they didn’t have to be fancy, only light, tough and fast.
That’s one wide swim platform, thanks to the boat’s 16’7” beam. It’s easy to reach via the transom door. We like the way the platform extends forward along the hull to create a stainless-capped rubrail protecting the tumblehome sides. Otherwise, they will get scratched no matter how careful you are at docking. The wide sidedecks are bounded by high rails, a good safety feature.
The attributes of cold-molding are that it is as durable as fiberglass (because of the epoxy resin), quiet when running (because of the layers of wood), relatively light (because of the wood), low maintenance (because of the e-glass and polyurethane finish), and stronger than most fiberglass hulls (because it has the strength of both wood and epoxy in composite construction).
There’s no bare wood in a Vicem. Keel, chines, sheer clamps, frames, stringers, deck beams and so forth are all coated with epoxy to keep moisture out. Each layer of planking is coated with epoxy before the next layer is attached, then the finished hull is covered with a skin of E-glass cloth and resin; the bilge and engine room get the same treatment. Finally, the hull is faired with epoxy compound, primed and painted with linear polyurethane paint. The finished hull is as smooth and shiny as any fiberglass boat – maybe more so. Over 100 Vicem yachts have been built using this time-proven construction method.
Half of the saloon is taken up by the long L-shaped settee to port, providing seating for more folks than you’ll probably choose to carry.
IPS Makes the Difference
Vicem used the proven hull of their earlier 54 as a basis for this boat and its twin 700-hp Volvo IPS 900 drives. Converting a straight-shaft-powered hull to IPS usually means moving the engines aft to situate them over the drives. In the case of the Vicem 54 IPS, this created a large compartment forward in the new engine room. It’s perfect for ancillary mechanicals – the watermaker is here, for instance – tools, spare parts and other seagoing necessities. You can never be too thin or too rich, or have too much stowage space on a boat.
The helm is to starboard, with acres of glass for the skipper to look through; there are wipers on each panel of the windshield. The shades on the side windows will come in handy at the marina: The Vicem 54 is such an impressive boat, dockwalkers and gawkers will be a bother. You’ll need the shades for privacy. Note the classic touch on the overhead.
The galley takes up half the starboard side in the cabin, which we like: Too many boats this size, and some bigger, allot too little area to the galley. There are twin SubZero refrigerator/freezers under the counter. Note the planked, white-finished overhead and the flawless joinery: This is what yachts used to look like before fiberglass took command. Many coats of satin varnish make the wood easy to keep clean, and will last for years before needing recoating.
Vicem located the master stateroom amidships, with an athwartships king-sized berth that’s accessible from both sides. This is preferable to placing the master in the bow – it makes the berth easier to use for both sleepers without requiring climbing steps or walking up the hull sides to get into the sack. The rectangular cabin permits better use of space, with lots of stowage. And it is a quieter cabin as well, without the slap-slap of waves hitting the bow at anchor.
The master stateroom, opposite the galley, has a king-size berth that’s easy to climb into at night and make up in the morning. There’s an ensuite head and two large hanging lockers. We like the indirect lighting over the headboard, in addition to the recessed lights in the overhead and the lamps. The oval port provides some daylight, too.
Guests can sleep in what Vicem calls the VIP stateroom, with its typical island queen berth. In this small space, we’d rather see less dark wood and more white paneling. But if you are a purist, you’ll like this rich wood interior. There’s a third cabin, too, with upper and lower berths. These two cabins share a head.
The Bottom Line
We haven’t tested the Vicem 54 IPS 900 yet, but the builder claims the twin 700-hp diesels will produce 30 knots max, 25 knots cruise. Based on the boat’s 60,627-lb displacement, our calculator shows those numbers to be reasonable. But don’t hold us to them.
The IPS propulsion system has the joystick, of course, so docking this long, low beauty will be easy. We like the juxtaposition of this classic exterior design (it reminds us of a 1950s Huckins) with traditional old-world joiner work below, but with a SOTA propulsion system. The whole package will designate the owner as the most sophisticated boat owner on the dock.
Base price for the Vicem 54 IPS is around $2.2 million. There is currently one for sale, with some options. Asking price is $2,271,250.
The Vicem 54 IPS isn’t for everyone: It’s an expensive boat for a 54’ express, but on the other hand, because it is cold-molded, there is no other boat built anywhere in the world like it. It is in the same class with the Hinckley Talaria 55, the San Juan 60, and the Eastbay 55, but is actually more traditionally styled than any of the others. She will definitely turn heads at any marina, and chances are you won’t meet yourself coming the other way in the channel.
If you want an elegant, traditional-looking power yacht that is good for both day cruising and overnight cruising with speed and efficiency that only pod drives can deliver – and want one of the most prestigious 55’ boats in the harbor – then make sure you see the Vicem 54 IPS.
= Standard = Optional
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!